5 Awesome Beginner Kettlebell Exercises for Beginners
Ahh yes… Kettlebells.
You think you know them, until you actually hold one in your hands.
Suddenly, they begin to feel a bit wobbly and unruly.
How do you exercise with these metallic goblins?
And are they even worth the effort?
Today, we’ll be talking all about kettlebells and what they can do for you.
So, without further ado, let’s get a great kettlebell workout!
Before even getting into the nitty-gritty exercises that can cause you to work up quite a sweat, let’s first understand:
- What kettlebells are
- Why they were created
- How they improve your workouts.
A kettlebell is a unique piece of gym equipment, birthed with the fusing of a round piece of metal with the bars of a dumbbell. It comes in a variety of weights, from 2 pounds (~1kg) all the way up to 50 pounds and beyond.
But where did they come from?
Turns out, kettlebells actually came from Russian markets – where market vendors used them as counterweights and threw them around to display their strength. In fact, the word ‘Girya’ – the first succinct description of kettlebells – was used to describe kettlebells all the way back in 1704!
So how do they help you improve your physical health?
Simple – they combine the flexibility of dumbbells while adding additional resistance to your wrists and forearms!
Think about it – the way you grip kettlebells and dumbbells are the same, but the range of motion that kettlebells force you to take makes you workout your arms differently!
Itching to understand more about the benefits of kettlebells? It’s time to move on to the exercises then, my friend!
1. Kettlebell Squats
When it comes to strength training, squats are seriously one of the best exercises that one can do for your entire body, and the kettlebell squat and the kettlebell goblet squat is one of the best when it comes to a beginner kettlebell workout.
So what do kettlebells add to the equation? Pragmatism.
When you lift up a kettlebell and squat down, you’re not only getting a full body kettlebell workout, you’re replicating one of the most common motions that we all do:
Picking up groceries!
Don’t laugh, it’s true! A couple of reps with a kettlebells can increase the strength of your arms in exactly the position that you need to make that coveted *one way trip* from the car to the door.
With strong wrists, forearms and biceps, you’ll be the strongest individual on the driveway.
2. Kettlebell Swing
Need to bring some explosiveness to your workouts?
Look no further than the kettlebell swing!
This is a really great beginner kettlebell workout for your full body.
It’s got everything:
- A safety mechanism built in (if you let go, it’s not going to hurt you)
- A good amount of resistance
- Provides a good range of motion for you to train your:
- Lower back
Oh and it’s super easy as well!
Just start off by bending your knees slightly and hold the kettlebell a bit below your hips. Next, lift up the kettlebell in an explosive fashion (but not so much that you’re losing balance) and bring it up to just a little bit above your shoulders.
Letting gravity do its thing will let you workout your wrists by guiding the kettlebell along the same path you brought it up and back to the starting position. See? Easy!
3. Figure 8s
Heard of Figure 8 skating? Well, this is the kettlebell version of it.
To perform this exercise, you simply hold the kettlebell while standing up straight.
Next, move the kettlebell around in a figure-8 like fashion between your legs, making sure to switch the kettlebells in each hand as you complete each half of the motion.
Not only is this going to increase the difficulty of your workout, but also add a little bit of strength to your upper back!
If the skating analogy isn’t enough for you to visualize it, simply think of dribbling the kettlebell like a basketball between your feet without dropping it!
Give Mr. Lebron James some competition y’all!
Who said kettlebells can’t be angelic?
With kettlebell halos integrated in your workouts, not only will you improve your physical strength but you might also make some angels smile (okay, no guarantee on that last bit – but it doesn’t hurt to try!).
For this exercise, you’ll want to start off by extending the kettlebell weight overhead. Next, rotate it around your head – kind of like drawing a circle with your head as the center point of the compass.
What makes this one so awesome is the fact that it hits so many different muscle groups!
You’ll feel the burn in your arms, chest, and core.
Make sure not to slouch here – that’s only going to cause back pain in the long run. Instead, keep your torso stable and your feet shoulder width apart and make sure to use your arms and core to guide the kettle around before returning to the starting position.
The body is the pivot point here- not the rotational body!
When you feel comfortable going beyond beginner kettlebell workouts, you may want to make this even more difficult! Try lifting up increasingly heavier kettlebells. Just make sure you don’t bump into them!
5. Flutter Kicks
Need to workout your core a bit more? Kettlebell training can certainly help you out with that.
With your back against the floor, raise the kettlebell above your head and keep your legs pushed together. Now, raise your legs alternatively by lifting your heels to the height of the kettlebell and workout that core!
If you’re looking to increase the difficulty of the exercise – there are two ways to do so.
First, you can extend the kettlebell beyond your head i.e. extend it backwards in such a fashion that you’re slightly stretching to keep it up there. You should feel the tension naturally rise in your core.
The second way that you can increase the difficulty is by increasing the frequency of the “kicks”. Just make sure to slowly increase this pace – you don’t want to lock your abs because of the stress.
So – what do you think? Aren’t kettlebells a beautiful amalgamation? The weight of dumbbells combined with the roundness of a ball does more than challenge you – in my opinion, it elevates your workout towards elegance.
That my friend, is certainly something the ancient Russian market vendors would have admired, don’t you think?
So what are you waiting for? Lift up your own ‘Girya’ and give yourself the workout you deserve!
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Hey I’m Patrick!
I built my first home gym in 2012, when I decided I was tired of waiting in line for the squat rack and I started GGC in 2020 to help people find the info they need to improve their fitness and their lives.
I’m passionate about fitness, especially when it comes to working out at home. I’ve learned a lot over the years about what to do and what not to do, and my mission is to share that knowledge with the world!